Friday, 9 August 2019

Royal Signals Road Relays

 SIGNALS ROAD RELAYS
(Incorporating the North Eastern Counties Championships)

HETTON LYONS COUNTRY PARK, SATURDAY, AUGUST 31
(Hosted by Houghton Harriers)

As you are well aware that the event due to take place earlier in the year didn't go ahead due to ongoing discussions with Sunderland City Council over insurance arrangements. However, after members of the NE Counties Road Running Committee met up with Council officials and after a lot of toeing-and-throwing, a draft was finally accepted by both parties together with England Athletics.

Houghton Harriers, and particularly, Peter Dodsworth, worked tirelessly to ensure the long-standing 'Signals' went ahead.

So can I appeal to all club secretaries/team managers to try and support the event. With the closing date for entries rapidly approaching (August 19) up to date only three clubs: Washington, Saltwell and Houghton - have entered and no late entries will be accepted. Entry information is on the NECAA website. 

Clubs who entered for the original date all have to re-enter once again.


Thank you, Bill McGuirk, Chairman NECAA

Friday, 12 July 2019

Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League 2019-20 Season


Good Morning cross country runners & team managers,

Following last night's NEHL AGM I'd like to thank Start Fitness for their continued support, and I'm  happy to confirm dates for the upcoming 2019-20 harrier league season.

28/09/19 - Wrekenton.  Hosted by Saltwell Harriers
06/10/19 - Druridge Bay. Hosted by Blyth RC (this is a Sunday fixture)
26/10/19 - Venue to be confirmed*
23/11/19 - Aykley Heads.  Hosted by Derwentside / Durham City / Elvet Striders
04/01/20 - Temple Park (Sherman Cup & Davison Shield).  Hosted by South Shields
08/02/20 - Thornley Hall Farm.  Hosted by Blackhill Bounders
29/02/20 - Alnwick Castle.  Hosted by Alnwick Harriers

*There are several options in the pipeline for the late October venue. John Stephens has been working with the landowners to try and get this sorted.

At the moment the possible options are:

Lambton Estate (near Washington/Chester-le-Street)
Allendale Estates
Hexham Racecourse
Townmoor

Derwent Reservoir was also an option, but there was not enough space to get the course in without a long road section, which made it more of a trail race than xc.

If all else fails we will have Thornley Hall Farm as a second fixture in the season.


Usual NEHL rules apply

Fees for the upcoming season

The committee opted to freeze fees so they are the same as last season.

This is a club competition, so you must be a member of a club to take part. This includes guests from other areas. Affiliated clubs pay £50 for the season plus £3/runner. Guest runner numbers cost £5. You keep your number for the whole season, so your £3/£5 covers all 7 fixtures.

If you lose your number it's £5 for a replacement (regardless of whether you're local or a guest)

Entries will open in September, club managers will receive their new login details shortly before the entries open.

Look forward to seeing you all in September!

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Royal Signals Relays

After weeks of toeing-and-throwing between the interested parties-Sunderland City Council, England Athletics and the North Eastern Counties AA-the Signals Relays have now been given the green light to go ahead.
Once again Houghton Harriers, thanks to the tiring efforts of Peter Dodsworth, will host the event at the regular venue, Hetton Lyons Park on the new date of Saturday, August 31.
A revised prospectus will be sent to all clubs who are asked to re-enter the event as there have been a few minor changes. Clubs who sent entries in for the original date will receive their cheques back in due course.
As you can imagine, finding a new date in the calendar has proved extremely difficult but the Road Running committee felt they had to act swiftly before the onset of the winter fixtures.

Bill McGuirk

Sunday, 12 May 2019

NECAA Royal Signals Relays Update

A meeting to discuss the problems relating to the Signals Road Relays was held at Sunderland City Council offices between four representatives of the Council and Peter Dodsworth, Alan Elders and Bill McGuirk acting on behalf of the NECAA.

After putting the points across forcibly why the NECAA were not in a position to sign the document in front of them for the event to go ahead at Hetton Lyons Country Park the council's representatives agreed to take our points on board and redraft the agreement.

This was indeed what happened inside a few days and a new agreement was drawn up which was then forwarded on to UKA for it's lawyers to give it their approval.

However, UKA were still not happy with the new wording and, after sitting on it for a few weeks, replied to the council with their reservations.

It is now back in the council's hands and while time is running out the NECAA are hoping for an early decision so that the event can go ahead albeit at Hetton or at another venue.

Bill McGuirk

NECAA

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Terry Scott Interview by Bill McGuirk

Not being a Social Media fan, I was amazed to be informed that the article on Sam Charlton posted on the NEHL website had received hundreds and hundreds of 'hits' and it then came as a bigger surprise when the informant suggested, because of the success, I do a few more pieces now that the Chronicle have decided they do not need my services any more. So what better way to take up the challenge than to speak to the new British Masters' 10k Road Race over-45 champion, the unassuming Terry Scott.

JUST like fine wines, adopted Geordie Terry Scott has matured over the years so much so after moving into the over-45 age group he is now lying second in this year's Power of 10 rankings over the 5k distance and joint second over 10k as his times continue to come tumbling down.


A 'fun' runner just seven or so years ago Terry has improved dramatically since linking up with Tyne Bridge Harriers and is now a regular in the England team for the Masters Cross-Country International.


His most recent success was a gold-medal performance at the British Masters' Port of Blyth 10k before going on to post one of the fastest times in the Elswick Good Friday Relays and it was at Newburn where I caught up with him and suggested doing a question and answer piece for the NEHL website which, I'm happy to say, he willingly agreed to.



Q: Terry, you're not from this neck of the woods so tell me a bit about yourself and where you are from and how you have made a home on Tyneside?
A: I am originally from Barrow in Furness, but lived and worked in Warrington as a Logistics Operations Manager for a large tissue manufacturer before moving to the NE to manage a large project, and remained here after its completion. I love it in this area.  

Q: As a youngster athletics and running doesn't seem to figure on your cv so how did you come about making the decision to give the sport a try?
A:I never did anything to keep fit as an adult. Then after some bad luck within the family, I decided I needed to get fit. So at 37 I joined a gym, lost some weight and got myself into some shape just lifting weights, eating a bit better and reducing alcohol intake. Then when I was 40, a friend asked if I wanted to do a race which was in 4 weeks time. I jumped on the internet, found myself a 4 week plan (yes, they actually exist) and started doing some more running. People said it was a decent time so it opened my eyes to taking it more seriously. 

Q: Your first entry on Power of 10 is 36th place in the Newburn River Run in 2011. What are your recollections of that night?
A: I’d completely forgotten I’d done that. I think I just did it as a little run in amongst the competitors but it didn’t give me any desire to enter more races. Not at that point anyway. 

Q: The following year parkrun was a big attraction for you though you started to dabble in the NE 'bigger' events, ie: the GNR, the Blaydon Race and North Tyneside 10k which must have encouraged you further?
A: When I ran the North Tyneside 10k, I think I finished it in about 39 minutes. People were telling me that it was a decent time, so I started to take things a bit more seriously and train properly. I also entered the Blaydon Race and have loved that race ever since. 

Q: In 2012 your half-marathon debut saw you post 80min 10sec in the GNR, that must have been a kick-start to thinking 'that was pretty good and maybe I should take running a bit more seriously'?
A: Having got myself an entry to the GNR, I focussed all my training around that for the preceding 3 months. Being fairly new to the North East, and running in general, I had never paid much attention to this race but I knew it was a big event. As the weeks went on I just kept revising my target, then on the day I aimed for 90 mins, so when I finished in 80 mins I was really happy. People more familiar with half marathons were sounding impressed at the time. It was probably at this point that I started to think about whether to join a running club.  

Q: Unfortunately, the following year despite following a similar pattern to 2012 you were three minutes slower in the GNR while you knocked three minutes off your Blaydon and North Tyneside times. Can you pin-point the any reasons for the mixed performances?
A: I think the positive times were because I was getting fitter and training well, but then in July I got sciatica. GNR was my big target so I was wanting to do anything to get to the start line. I spent a small fortune on different treatments to try to get rid of the sciatica. Nothing was working. As a result, I ran about 4 times between July and the GNR in September. Such was the determination, I got to the start line but clearly not fit. By the time I got to the end of the Tyne bridge I was hugely regretting it. I wanted to drop out but realised I would not be able to get a message to my family at the finish line, so I spent the next 12 miles suffering, but ploughing on. Eventually finishing 3 minutes slower than the previous year. Happy to finish though. A little mental victory.

Q: That GNR result didn't deter you having another go 12 months on which resulted in a superb 77:21. However, while all of your running had been on the roads you started to dabble in cross-country which came about I presume after linking up with Tyne Bridge Harriers.
A: This was in 2014, two years after my first proper race. I decided to join Tyne Bridge Harriers after Kenny Mac and Sparrow Morley were individually encouraging me to sign up. The Elswick Good Friday Relays was my first event in the vest. This then led to all the other events like cross country. I was really enjoying running as part of a club. Good camaraderie, and clearly helped me improve. 

Q: You were now certainly 'up and running' competing most weekends and in 2014 what stands out for me is your ninth place finish - third over-40 - in the Tees Pride 10k in a time of 33:51. How did you feel after dipping under 34 minutes for the first time?
A: The sub 34 for 10k was something that I was really aiming for. I just missed out at the Darlington 10k - 34:02, then at Tees Pride I knew after 5 miles, the pace was close to breaking 34. However, coming into what I thought was the final straight, and seeing what I thought was the finish line, I did the usual emptying of the tank towards the finish line. Anyway, it turned out it wasn’t the finish line. That was around the corner and another couple of hundred metres away. I literally crossed the finish line on my haunches, then collapsed in a heap. 5 more metres and I’d have been crawling  across on my elbows. After pulling myself round and realising I’d made it in under 34, I was elated. So happy. 

Q: 2015 was a hugely successful year where, after some eye-catching performances over the country you made your debut in the Home Nations Masters Cross-Country International in Dublin finishing in 12th place. How exciting was it to earn England selection after just a few active years in the sport?
A: I couldn’t quite believe I’d been selected to represent my country. All I could think at the time was I wish my parents and brother were still around to witness this. I was so proud and so would they have been. The whole event was such an amazing experience. We also managed to pick up team silver, and I counted for the team, so to get a medal was really exciting.

Q: As well as securing your first international vest, the year also saw you compete abroad for the first time where you posted a huge half-marathon pb of 74:35 in Amsterdam. What stands out for you on that performance?
A: Here I wanted to right the wrong for the previous year in the same race where I was chasing sub 75. Just after 9 miles, I started swaying and collapsed into the barriers. Got back up and fell back down. My first DNF. Coincidentally, it also happened at the GNR, painfully this time I was 200m from the finish and on for a time of about 74 minutes. So a month after GNR, and the year after my Amsterdam dnf, this third attempt at sub 75 HM was on. The race went to plan and when I saw the clock in the stadium and realised I’d done it, I was so so happy. I’d realised I’d got the time to get me a championship entry for the London Marathon. 

Q: The following year you tested the water in the marathon when you ran London finishing 193rd overall in 2:35.57. How did you feel afterwards, especially as you haven't done one since?
A: I’d always said if I was to do only one marathon, I wanted it to be London. The event didn’t disappoint. Amazing experience. In terms of race plan, it was all about going to pace for the first 15 miles, then if the pace starts dropping, just make sure I finish. I didn’t want to let anyone down by not finishing. I felt proud that I could now say I’d raced a marathon. I have no plans to do another one just yet. 

Q: A sixth place overall finish in the Brass Monkey Half-Marathon in York in 2017 in 70:39 and a sub 32 minutes 10k in the Leeds Abbey Dash which put you top of the UK over-45 rankings for the year, showed racing over shorter distances is more to your liking. Is that the case?
A: Yes, that was also my thinking. I tended to train quite generically at this point, trying to cover a bit of everything to do as well as possible from 5k to HM. To finish the year top of the 10k rankings for V45 was a great achievement for me. Another ‘can’t believe this’ moment. 

Q: Last year you seemed to cut back on racing - no cross-country at all - despite posting a current life-time best of 31:43 in the Trafford 10k. Was there a reason for this?
A: At the start of 2018 I suffered badly with lack of motivation. This was the first time this had happened, but I just couldn’t be bothered with running any longer. It also turned out I had low iron levels which could have explained some of it. I got going again and joined up with Lindsay Dunn’s group, and directly coached by Nathan Shrubb. They have both been a massive help. Since joining the LD group, it has been excellent and I’ve loved running again. A great group of lads, all willing each other to do well. One of the things we worked on is to be more selective with races, and training in a much more controlled way. This, along with lowering my mileage, has allowed me to stay fresh and this has led to my times improving.  

Q: This year is just a few months old but already you have stamped your name in the record books by winning the British Masters' 10k Road Race Championship at Blyth. What did that performance mean to you?
A: With my coach, we have worked on being less concerned with times and PB’s and to just ‘race’. So this is exactly what I did. I just raced the guys that were there, and was delighted to pick up the title, and also ended up running a time much quicker than I thought it was going to be. Since then, I managed to run 15:04 at the Mid Cheshire 5k. I would never believe anywhere near this time was achievable for me. Now that I have that, I have to aim to try and break that 15 minute barrier. 

Q: Finally, while you have certainly made up for lost time since you started running what advice would you give to anyone interested in taking up athletics whatever their age?
A: Just to embrace it, and if you’re going to get up at 6am for early morning runs, and running in all kinds of typical north east weather, then it must mean you want this. Therefore train hard but train sensibly. This way you stand a chance of staying injury free and going into the key sessions fresh. Keep the maximum effort for races. 

Thanks for taking the time Terry to take part in the piece however, after completing the interview it came to light that his excellent form continued when he posted a superb pb of 15:04 in the Mid Cheshire 5k, an event he described as 'his best-ever race in terms of time'.


Bill McGuirk


HARBOUR MASTER: Terry, on his way to winning the British Masters' 10k Road Race Championship at the Port of Blyth race earlier this month


SAND DANCER: Approaching the finish of his first-ever GNR in 2012

CAPITAL OUTING: Under the Shadow of Big Ben Terry takes to the streets of London for his one-and-only marathon so far

PB PERFORMANCE: Terry just misses out on dipping under 15 minutes in the Mid Cheshire 5k but is nevertheless happy with 15:04
ENGLAND EXPECTS: Mud-splattered but overjoyed on his England Masters' Cross-Country International debut in Dublin in 2015

Friday, 26 April 2019

NECAA & Northern 10000m Championships Report by Bill McGuirk

GREG REGAINS 10,000m TITLE WHILE CATHERINE CLAIMS MAIDEN VICTORY IN WOMEN'S CONTEST

ONCE again entries for the North Eastern Counties 10,000 metres resulted in having two races which took place prior to the opening fixture of the NEGP at Monkton Stadium.


And, in the seeded opening event, it was Greg Jayasuriya (Middlesbrough and Cleveland), the NE XC champion, who came out on top after losing out last year to Morpeth's Mark Long.


It was a fascinating contest as the 13-strong field started off at a sedate pace before the Teessider, Gateshead's Conrad Franks, Thomas Straughan (Morpeth) and Blackhill's Jordan Bell took turns at the front before hitting the mid-way point in 16min 05secs.


Going into the second half of the contest the momentum increased as Franks - winner in 2013, in 32:59.4 - was the first to drift away. It was then the turn of Straughan to feel the heat as Jayasuriya and Bell took it in turn at the head of affairs.


The duo were locked together for the next 10 laps or so with neither giving way despite both athletes trying their best to get the better of their rival.


With two laps to go it was anyone's race until Bell, who finished in ninth pace last year, made a brave bid for victory with around 700 metres to go. A gap quickly opened up and by the bell he had a 15-metres lead which he held going down the back straight for the final time.


The advantage looked to be secured until Jayasuriya, who lifted the title in 2017, dug deep into his experience to haul in his opponent in the home straight and go on and win in 31:47.18, exactly two seconds clear of Bell whose 31:49.18 smashed his pb by over half-a-minute.


Straughan consolidated third place finishing in 32:13.39 in what was his first track outing over the distance since 2016.


After receiving his second 10,000m gold medal, Jayasuriya found the strength to say: "I didn't think I was going to catch Jordan after he opened up a big lead with less than a lap to go".


"It was a great race and I'm really pleased to have won again and add the track title to the cross-country gold medal I won in December. I've entered the 1,500m and 5,000m at the championships next month and hopefully I'll do well there.''


Meanwhile, six women took to the start line for the second race which had 13 starters and it was Elswick's Catherine Lowes (nee Lee) who settled into a good rhythm from the off.  Jarrow duo, evergreen Heather Robinson and NEHL administrator Vicki Thompson, were next in line as the field quickly spread out.


It didn't show that Lowes had only two competitive parkruns to her name this year as she produced a 10,000m pb performance of over two minutes to cross the line in 42:04.67.


Robinson, third last year and winner in 2015 and 2014, followed Lowes home in silver medal position in 43:50.92 while an unbelievable Thompson claimed bronze medal in a time of 47:20.45.


Special thanks go to the North East Grand Prix for once again allowing the Championships to go ahead within their fixture while a special pat on the back goes to the medalists and also to the Derwent Valley Trail Runners, Elswick and Jarrow & Hebburn clubs who supported the championships in a big way.


Results:

Race 1

Athlete Club Time
1 Greg Jayasuriya Middlesbrough&Cleveland 31:47.18
2 Jordan Bell Blackhill Bounders 31:49.18
3 Thomas Straughan Morpeth Harriers 32:13.39
4 Conrad Franks Gateshead Harriers 32:52.88
5 Michael Joyeux Quakers Runnng Club 33:01.46
6 Lee James Dover Houghton Harriers 33:06.66
7 Gary Wallace Blackhill Bounders 33:12.66
8 James Meader Heaton Harriers 33:21.15
9 Lee Bennett Morpeth Harriers 34:14.53
10 Simon Bennett Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers 34:21.67
11 Rory Graham Houghton Harriers 35:06.79
12 Richard Darling Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers 35:10.13
13 John Surtee Aycliffe Running Club 35:15.11

Race 2

Athlete Club Time
1 Paul Davies North Shields Poly 37:15.65
2 David Moir Tyne Bridge Harriers 37:21.76
3 Harry Tatham  Derwent Valley Trail Runners 40:43.28
4 Ian Hutchinson Derwent Valley Trail Runners 41:28.29
5 Charles Butcher Derwent Valley Trail Runners 41:44.90
6 Catherine Lowes Elswick Harriers 42:04.67
7 George Henderson   South Shields Harriers 46:06.20
8 Daniel Nettle Elswick Harriers 43:46.60
9 Heather Robinson Jarrow & Hebburn 43:50.92
10 Vicki Thompson Jarrow & Hebburn 47:20.45
11 Helen Ruffell Jarrow & Hebburn 48:51.86
12 Melissa Bateson Elswick Harriers 49:22.10
13 Christine Gilligan Jarrow & Hebburn 54:58.70




Monday, 22 April 2019

North Tyneside 10k - Bill McGuirk referee

Once again the North Tyneside 10k has attracted a huge number of competitors lining up using someone else's bib number and it certainly came to a head this time round when the first athlete home was one of the guilty party.
Not only is it extremely dangerous to do this it takes away the joy that would have been awarded to the correct winner.

Of course the athlete in question wasn't the only one to break the rules. On checking the women's leading finishers, the top 30, after viewing video evidence FIVE were men running in a woman's number.
Please, this has to stop now and while big events attract huge numbers of unregistered competitors who aren't familiar with the rules of competition there is no excuse for club athletes to even consider taking this kind of action.

I appeal to all athletic club secretaries to make sure that every one of their members are aware of the situation re passing bib numbers on without clearance from race organisers.

Bill McGuirk, Chairman NECAA and North Tyneside 10k referee